Katalin Karikó, the Hungarian biochemist, whose discoveries paved the way for mRNA-based medical technology, received an honorary doctorate degree from Tel-Aviv University (TAU) on 12 May 2022. The research professor of the University of Szeged gave lectures in Israel on motivating women scientists and protein replacement therapy.
It was Katalin Karikó's first time in Israel, although she has been invited over the last one and a half years to several countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas to receive awards for her outstanding achievements. With nearly 90 awards during the last 18 months, the world thanks Katalin Karikó for her discoveries that have paved the way for the development of mRNA-based medical technology.
HONORARY MEMBER OF THE TAU
Wearing the honorary doctorate candidates' red and black robes, Katalin Karikó showed the audience a photograph taken at the PhD ceremony of the University of Szeged. She talked about how she worked for 24 years in the laboratories of the University of Pennsylvania and then in Germany. "I have enjoyed every minute of my eight years at BioNTech" she emphasized.
"My biggest dream was to become a scientist" she said. She underlined that the primary goal of her research into the secrets of mRNA was to create therapies. Her go-to question when in the laboratory remains "What does it mean?", and she still feels excitement while working and experimenting.
"My biggest hero is my biology teacher, who knew everything and I wanted to be like him" she revealed. "I try to inspire others now because it's great to be a scientist! Every day you're faced with a new question, a new puzzle, and then it's such a joy when you understand something that no one else understands."
"The biggest excitement for me is to see the data. When I'm experimenting or talking to my colleagues, it always pushes me to go further and do more." she said. "Probably the most important thing for the future is to have mentors and teachers to guide students and direct them towards different problems they can solve so they can focus and work. This would be much more important than just the curriculum, because that is accessible on the internet." she stressed.
A total of 12 honorary degrees from Tel-Aviv University were awarded on the evening of 12 May 2012. For Katalin Karikó, this is her fifth honorary doctorate. The TAU award ceremony can be viewed here.
ROLE MODEL FOR WOMEN
Dr. Karikó didn’t rest on her laurels in Tel Aviv either during her stay between 10 and 13 May 2022. The University of Tel Aviv has invited her to give lectures that promote science.
She participated at the roundtable discussion: LEADING THE CHARGE: A UNIQUE GLIMPSE INTO HOW POWERFUL WOMEN BREAK DOWN BARRIERS, on 11. The conversation about how empowered women overcome obstacles was hosted by Milette Shamir, TAU International Vice President. She interviewed – besides Katalin Karikó - Cornélia Bargmann, neurobiologist and geneticist, professor at Rockefeller University and scientific director of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Jodi Kantor, American journalist and New York Times correspondent. The three guests were on the list of TAU's new Honorary Doctors.
Boris Mints Institute (BMI) Conference "Research, Innovation and Global Policy" was the theme of the 7th Boris Mints Institute (BMI) Conference at Tel Aviv University. The presentations featured insights on innovation and global policy from prominent figures from the Institute. Guest of honor Katalin Karikó gave a lecture on "mRNA technology and its impact on a sustainable future", and she stressed the importance of collaboration. „Each building block of the House of Science is the result of the persistent and enthusiastic work of many researchers," said Katalin Karikó in a live broadcast of her presentation on 12 May 2022. For more information about Dr. Katalin Karikó, Research Professor of the University of Szeged, please visit the website of SZTE, or the website of the SZTE Klebelsberg Library.